Strengthening and enhancing links to the community around your journal is of immense benefit. Building author loyalty to the journal is crucial to long term success, as authors are more likely to submit to a journal that is familiar and known to them. Raising the journal’s profile and improving its reputation through community building can help make it THE place to publish. This may be a long game, but there are shorter term strategies that can be put into play.
Utilize your affiliations
If your journal represents a Society or an organisation, there could be opportunities here to attract key authors and exciting material through the Society. Society and institutional relationships to journals vary enormously, but consider how the particular relationship between your journal and the relevant society/societies could be used to attract authors and content: this may be through a commissioned piece from a top tier academic, or even in the form of a Special Issue.
Academic Societies connect with authors at many stages throughout their career and this breadth can be used to the journal’s advantage in a variety of ways. An issue focussing on students and early career researchers, or a regular feature for those new to the field, could really help build long term journal loyalty. Working through a Society can be a good way to engage with practitioners too, who are often unsure of how to publish their work.
Be visible within the community
How do authors and readers of the journal communicate with one another? Keep up-to-date with announcements of conferences and/or other annual events, and ensure the journal has a place in any Society conference. Events offer an excellent opportunity to make the journal ‘visible’ in your community, raising its profile and potentially attracting quality authors.
Moreover, is there a blog or ListServer used by the community? Think about how the journal might be more involved in this and even provide a focal point for the community.
Abstracting and indexing
Where a journal is indexed, especially if there is a ranking associated with it, is often a strong motivator for authors.
There are a vast number of abstracting and indexing services: some are purely collections of information, whereas some have created rankings within the lists of journals to give some idea of how significant a journal is in its field. Some are very broad, such as Web of Science and Scopus, whereas many more are subject or topic specific databases such as ARCOM (which specifically covers Construction Management).
Ensuring that your journal is appropriately indexed and working to improve the rank can make a big difference to the quality of submissions you can expect.